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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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The scene in the village on the final day of the An Tostal festival when the celebrations were brought to a close with a parade, cross-roads dancing and ceremonial lowering of the Tostal flag. An Tostal was a series of festivals throughout the country celebrating Irish life, inaugurated in 1953 and continuing for the next five years.

1918

Influenza epidemic

The influenza epidemic continues to prevail with unabated virulence in the county, and from various parts, reports of deaths are still being made. In the city, several families are stricken, but, fortunately, no fatal results have occurred since last week.

Of the institutions, St. Mary’s College is the worst sufferer, many of the students being confined to bed, while a number who escaped the disease returned to their homes.

During the week, all the schools in the city were closed, and the theatres have been put out of bounds for military and naval men. The Urban Council decided on Thursday to have the theatres closed for the present.

The Technical Institute has closed down till Monday. Dr. Sandys has resumed work after a week’s illness. Mr. George Duffy, draper, Dominick-st., contracted the disease this week, and his establishment was closed.

The influenza epidemic has been very virulent in Tuam, and there are ten houses in which some of the inmates have not come “down” with the disease. Last weekend, it took a sever grip on the town and the number of sufferers has increased rapidly.

Three shop assistants have fallen victim to the malady. Michael Mullens, whose death was reported last week, was from Ballindine. Thomas Ward, of Clonberne, was removed to his home, where he succumbed on Tuesday. The third victim is Matthew Donnellan, who developed double pneumonia following the disease, and died in Tuam hospital on Tuesday night.

They were extremely popular young men, favourites with their companions, and their early deaths are deeply deplored.

Members of the police force, the post office staff, and bank officials are amongst those laid up. The accommodation in the hospital is taxed to its utmost, and the patients are receiving the greatest care and attention from the doctor, nurses and sisters.

The disease has also spread to Ballyglunin and Turloughmore districts. In the latter place it has been particularly severe, and several deaths have taken place. A young man named Treacy has died near Ballyglunin as a result of it.

1943

Hospital scandal

The condition of affairs in the Galway Central Hospital from the point of view of the treatment of disease was referred to by Mr. M. Donnellan, Leader of Clann na Talmhan, in the Dáil. He said the conditions were a positive disgrace; they were so bad they might be endured only with reluctance and apology as a temporary arrangement if they had been imposed under some scheme of emergency arising out of conditions imposed by actual war or some violent eruption.

The medical and nursing staffs were excellent, but how they managed to do their work and carry on under the conditions imposed by the Minister and his representatives he did not know. The hospital conditions were grossly unjust to the staff and when they were unjust to the staff, they were unjust to the patients.

The whole problem was due to overcrowding, because of the absence of suitable alternative accommodation to relieve pressure on the hospital. It was a monstrous thing to have medical, surgical and tubercular patients mixed in the same hospital; it was unfair to all classes of patients and it was difficult to say who suffered the greatest injustice.

The people of Co. Galway could not understand why that condition of affairs should be allowed to exist. It was not a question of no additional accommodation being available. It would not be easy to find worse or less suitable accommodation for tubercular patients that the Central hospital offered, but the County Council always had been opposed by the Department in its desire to provide better treatment for tubercular patients.

In all decency, he said it was a matter of urgency that a suitable sanatorium should be provided for the treatment of tuberculosis and in the meantime, accommodation of a temporary kind suitable for patients should be found.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Mayor of Galway, Cllr Michael Smyth, turning the first sod of the new £86,000 community centre at Shantalla on August 6, 1971

1921

Treatment of women

At the meeting of the Galway Board of Guardians on Wednesday, Mr. Pk. Thornton in the chair, a discussion took place regarding the admission of women with illegitimate children.

Mr. Cooke said that it was one of those questions which the Dáil Éireann was trying to solve. The assistant clerk said that Galway was only a small place in comparison to other places.

A member said that these people were coming in month after month, and it was perfectly scandalous.

Mrs. Young said that the practice should be stopped as in England. The assistant clerk said that they had laws of their own in England in regard to this matter. Mrs. Young said that it was a matter that the guardians should go into.

Clerk: So these women assist in washing and scrubbing, Mr. O’Toole?

Master: Yes, they do.

Mrs. Young: Until you tackle the thing, you can never make much headway. The nuns were terrified by some of them who absolutely refused to work.

Mr. Cooke: They should be cleared out.

Chairman: It is not fair for any able-bodied woman to be in the workhouse at the ratepayers’ expense.

The clerk said that this question was one of the most difficult which had confronted Dáil Éireann, and they were looking the matter up.

Profiteering black spot

Galway is the blackest spot in Ireland for profiteering. It is maintaining its inglorious record in extortion – a record that all but killed the race meeting some years ago and diverted the stream of visitors from the town for nearly a decade.

If this flagrant profiteering continues, it will have the result of reducing the city ultimately to poverty, whilst the few grow rich. The economic balance must be maintained. Elsewhere desperate efforts are being made to maintain it.

Prices must come back. Labour in Galway has done absolutely nothing to bring them back, because Labour in Galway appears to be less intelligently led than elsewhere. Yet unemployment is rife amongst us, poverty is already knocking consistently at the door of not a few, wages are falling and must fall.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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President Eamon de Valera speaking at the opening of Coláiste Lurgan, Knock, Indreabhán, on August 4, 1968.

1921

Life in internment

A Gort man at Ballykinlar sends to the West and interesting account of the conditions in the internment camp, where so many men from our country are at present held prisoner without charge every having been preferred against them, without trial or conviction.

There are some disturbing features in his report, the cause of which might well be removed at this period when the Truce is being so well observed, when peace is in the air. For instance, he begins by the complaint that whilst the English papers are freely delivered, there is difficulty in getting their own papers.

“The camp,” he goes on, “is an improvement on the Earl’s Island death trap or the Town Hall poison den. There is a greater sense of security here than in either of those places. The food is inadequate, and doubtful of quality, as you may have seen by the Press. The men here have to put up a great fight against the ennui, which anyone acquainted with internment has experienced. Physical development classes and outdoor sports, football, handball and hurling, have kept their devotees fit and energetic, but the vitality is slowly and surely ebbing away.

“Exercises are being less violently participated in, brisk walks are being less frequently indulged in, and a general apathy and listlessness, hardly observable as yet, is, nevertheless, gradually setting in.

“The education board, which owes a lot to Mr. O’Connell, Duniry, to whom all students are deeply indebted, has been instrumental in endowing many of the boys with a liberal increase to their attainments (a description of the work would require a great deal of space), and has provided a much-needed antidote to the deterioration of the mind, which is so invariably associated with internment. The study of Gaelic has pride of place in the curriculum, and many students have made great headway. It is not unusual to find half-a-dozen in a hut almost at any hour carrying on a laboured conversation in Irish or debating some of the finer points in grammar. I believe one f the boys (none of them had a word of Irish coming in) passed for a fáinne at the recent examination.

“Hobbies in arts and crafts have an enormous sway, and a surprising amount of latent talent has been discovered and developed. Silver rings, chased, engraved and inset, have been made from silver coins, that, placed beside the finished works at Faller’s or Dillon’s, would not cause the designs to blush! Bones, more plentiful than meat at the cookhouse, have been manufactured into brooches of beautiful and distinctive design, which, I am sure, will be seen gracing the fair necks of favoured colleens later on.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Some of the participants in the Kinvara Fancy Dress on June 11, 1967.

1921

Outdated laws

Ireland obtained her workhouses from the famine. They were erected to ameliorate a condition of things brought about by an alien government – a condition which historians unite in declaring could have been avoided.

On the 25th March, 1846, Tuam, Castlerea, Cahirciveen, and Clifden workhouses were opened, and a rate was struck on the Clifden union. The Tuam workhouse was contracted for July, 1840, at a cost of £7,600 for building and completion and £1,400 for fittings and contingencies.

It was made to accommodate 800 persons but in 1851 it housed no fewer than 2,881 paupers. Sheds had to be extemporised to afford a roof to those who had been stricken by the famine, and scenes of horror were enacted there during the period of the Black Death.

The workhouses also are a landmark of the fact that in these famine years Ireland’s population was reduced practically by half, and that so impoverished had the country become that it was unable any longer to maintain even the 4½ millions left without workhouses.

At present, on the eve of happier times, an effort is being made to reduce public expenditure and divert public monies into more profitable channels by amalgamating existing unions, and thus reducing their number.

Some have claimed that this is a question upon which the ratepayers ought to have been consulted and that in any drastic scheme of reform they should have a voice. None will dispute however that reform is absolutely necessary, and the sooner it comes the better.

The poor, no doubt, we shall always have with us, but when employment is revived throughout Ireland, and wages and the cost of living are reduced, we feel convinced that pauperism in this country will largely disappear and that public monies can thenceforth be utilised much more profitably than in maintaining an army of officials.

The neighbouring county of Mayo has drawn up an elaborate scheme of union amalgamation which the secretary of the county council has courteously forwarded to us. We hope to deal with this scheme fuller in our next issue.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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